No Matter What: Me and My Family


A basic principle of family law is that children benefit most from having two loving parents involved in their lives. This principle is echoed in all our laws dealing with children and remains a key component even in situations where each parent chooses to parent differently. In the case of separation or divorce, it can be very difficult for parents to agree on anything and issues around parenting, custody and access are no exception. offers a few things to consider that may help parents focus on the best interests of their child and honour the connection their child has with both parents…

  • Children need and benefit from having two parents in their life that can provide a safe, loving and nurturing environment.
  • There are many different ways to parent; love for the child can be a common denominator.
  • While some aspects of the parent-child relationship will change, many will remain the same.
  • Different parenting styles may not be bad, they just might be different.

Because our laws are based on the belief that generally a child will benefit from maximum contact with both parents, our family justice system has fashioned programs and services that can facilitate access even when there are some concerns about a parent’s ability to act in the best interests of the child.

In Saskatchewan, the Supervised Access/Exchange Program can provide supervision of various aspects of an access visit to help ensure a child’s safety and well being. Typically a court will consider ordering supervised access when, for example, the access parent has…

  • limited parenting skills
  • a history of alcohol or substance abuse
  • had limited contact with the child for a period of time and may need help to re-establish a relationship
  • a history involving abuse or violence towards the child or other family members
  • created concerns that they might abduct the child

In addition to supervised access or exchanges, a court may order that a parent take steps to address the issues that threaten the parent-child relationship or place certain restrictions on the parent during access periods. For example, a court may order that a parent attend additional parenting classes or refrain from alcohol and/or drugs before and during access visits.

In situations where parental conflict is the major concern, as opposed to concerns about interaction between parent and child, the court will continue to encourage the parents to find more appropriate ways to deal with their feelings towards each other.

Something to Think About…
Some family law professionals suggest that as families go through changes it may be helpful to pay special attention to the language of divorce to shift the focus away from the end of the couple’s relationship and to instead use language that reinforces the ongoing parental relationship. For example, separated or divorced couples can stop referring to “my ex” and think and talk about them as “my children’s mother” or “my children’s father”. Language can reframe the relationship and unconsciously affect how you talk of them, especially around the children, and even how you feel about them. – Deidre Sanders, Kids in the Middle


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